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Pension cuts see Scottish titles post profits rise

A group of Scottish newspapers has reported a 19.6pc rise in pre-tax profits to £8.7m in 2011 despite a fall in turnover.

Turnover at Newsquest’s Glasgow-based Herald and Times division, which publishes The Herald, Evening Times and Sunday Herald, fell 2.7pc to £56.9m last year.

But the fall in revenue was more than offset by a reduction in costs due to staff cutbacks and the axeing of the company’s final salary pension scheme.

The scheme was closed to future accrual from 31 March 2011, resulting in a fall in pension costs from £4.3m to £1.4m.

The figures, published on the newspapers’ website, also revealed that the company employed 60 fewer staff in 2011 than the previous year.

As a result staff wages and salaries dropped from £18.8m to £17.1m.

Managing director Tim Blott said: “Print revenues continue to be under pressure during the current recession but a recent restructure of our newspaper advertising department will create greater focus on the strengths of our core titles and should deliver greater benefit to advertisers and readers.”

The directors’ report states: “Recovery in the economy is expected to have a positive impact on revenues, although there remains uncertainty about the timing and extent of growth.”